Hong Kong stocks rose Friday but ended with a weekly loss, as US President Donald Trump earlier in the week shot a series of arrows at Huawei and its suppliers as well as ended special treatment of the city in extradition, shipping and taxes over the new national security law.
The Hang Seng Index rose 1.3 per cent to 25,113.84 on Friday, ending the tumultuous week with a small loss of 0.3 per cent. Last week, it saw a 2.7 per cent weekly gain, which followed four weeks of losses.
Still, the benchmark is on track for the third consecutive month of gains as overall sentiment has been positive on new listings in the city, the launch of a tech board and the start of a shake-up on September 7 of constituent members to add more tech and biotech.
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But renewed concerns about the tensions between China and the US depressed sentiment over the week. The US put new restrictions on Huawei, while president Trump attacked China’s handling of the coronavirus as “unthinkable”.
Meanwhile, trade talks between the world’s two largest economies to review the progress of the phase one deal were postponed from the last weekend. China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that the trade talks would be held “in the coming days”, giving the markets some welcome respite.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent, eking out a weekly gain of 0.6 per cent.
The markets are now “expecting possible Sino-American trade discussion in the next few days,” said Gordon Tsui Luen-on, managing director of Hantec Pacific.
Hong Kong was also caught in the US-China crossfire when the US announced it was halting its pacts with the city on extradition, shipping and taxes.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index slumped the most in nearly two weeks, closing below its 50-day moving average after Washington said it was suspending its extradition treaty with the former British colony. The closely watched average has been supporting the measure in recent months, putting it on course to test the uptrend it has been in since mid-March.
“Though the market [rebounded] a little bit today, the general sentiment is still low, because of the uncertainties around Sino-US relations,” said Stanley Chan, director of research at Emperor Securities.
“Investors are cautious about tech stocks as the supply chain of semiconductors may be impacted,” said Chan of US steps against Chinese companies. “There are a lot of uncertainties. The market remains a bit weak.”
The new tech index of Hong Kong’s top 30 tech stocks was little changed, edging up less than 0.1 per cent.
In the US, gains from giant technology companies including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft drove the Nasdaq 100 to a record. A vaccine candidate by Pfizer was also on track for regulatory review as early as October, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, posted a 124 per cent rise in net income to 47.6 billion yuan for the second quarter, beating the consensus estimate of 36 billion yuan. Revenue also grew 34 per cent in the quarter, returning to pre-pandemic levels and underscoring China’s strong retail recovery.
Alibaba slipped 0.9 per cent, after rising as much as 1.4 per cent.
Casino stocks led Hong Kong blue chip gains. The number of visitor arrivals to Macau in July more than doubled to 74,006 compared to the previous month, according to government statistics released on Friday. Restrictions are slowly being eased to allow more mainlanders – who make up 90 per cent of the gamblers in Macau – to visit.
Galaxy Entertainment soared 6.2 per cent, Sands China shot up 6.5 per cent while Wynn Macau rose 4.7 per cent.
The visitor figures to Macau in July have “favoured casino related stocks”, said Hantec Pacific’s Tsui.
“Fewer Covid-19 cases reported during the last few days [have helped] property stocks,” he added.
Hong Kong developer Henderson Land gained 2.9 per cent. It reported a 62 per cent drop in net profit for the six months through June 30 from a year earlier, although revenues climbed 81 per cent to HK$5.4 billion over the period on resilient residential property sales.
New World Development and Sino Land both rose 1.1 per cent.
Hopson Development rose 10.2 per cent, after reporting first-half profits surged 92 per cent to 5.1 billion yuan, compared to the same period last year.
Telemedicine giant Ping An Good Doctor plunged as much as nearly 11 per cent, before closing with a 5.2 per cent loss. It reported a net loss of 213.6 million yuan in the first half, narrowing 21.6 per cent from 273.5 million yuan in the same period in 2019.
In the mainland, Apple AirPods supplier Goertek closed with a 7 per cent gain. It reported first half profits soared 49 per cent to 781 million yuan compared to the same period in 2019, on the back of rapid growth in the company’s wireless earphone business. It has gained 115 per cent in 2020.
Kweichow Moutai, the liquor giant that is one of the most heavily traded mainland stocks on the Stock Connect, rose 0.7 per cent to 1,676 yuan.
Two companies debuted in the mainland.
Chemical product manufacturer Ningbo Changhong Polymer and engineering service provider Beijing New Space Technology both soared by the daily upside limit on most boards of 44 per cent.
Additional reporting by Deb Price, Ji Siqi and Eugene Tang
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